The world is shifting and rapidly changing, and as I travel and experience other parts of the world, I see transference towards a more spiritual way of thinking and being, and it seems the fashion world is changing right along with it.
Spirituality is usually associated with things we see as greater than ourselves. It conjures images of a higher power, of enlightened thought, prayer, mediation, our connection to others, our place in the universe and the meaning of life itself. True fashion is an expression of art and of personal identity. And for centuries spirituality and fashion have long been somewhat intertwined.
The pope’s clothing is infused with history, symbolism and fashion. Though popes through the ages have worn many of the vestments, each new bishop of Rome puts his own spin on the classic fashion. The last pope, Benedict XVI, put his own mark on the clothes he wore both day-to-day and for special occasions, restoring long-lost hats and capes and adding a bold touch of color.
The Native American feathered headdress is a symbolic and meaningful fashion icon. Typically made of bird feathers, the headdress was reserved for the most powerful and influential among the tribe. These headdresses were not made at one time. Each time a chief, warrior, or other important tribe member committed a brave act, a feather was added. In many cases the warrior would have to prove himself by fasting for several days, praying and meditating to show his steadfastness, and only then could he add a feather to the headdress.
Growing up in Austin, my family and I went to church every Sunday and we were expected to wear our “Sunday best” and for me that was always my most fashionable outfit. For my brothers that meant dress slacks, shirts and ties and loafers, no tennis shoes allowed. My parents taught us that part of our offering to the Lord on Sunday was the best of what we had to wear. My father used to say, “The mind and the heart are not disconnected from the body. The way we dress affects the way we think, our disposition, and our behavior. We can help steer our hearts toward worship, we can help focus our minds on God by dressing in a manner befitting an audience with The King.” I still dress up every Sunday and buy a fashionable spring dress to wear Easter Sunday.
You don’t have to go all out and walk around in ritual robes to combine fashion and spirituality. You can simply choose items for your wardrobe that best help express what’s inside of you.
I am noticing that I am merging my spirituality and fashion in my everyday life. My outer self is a reflection of my inner self. I am conscious of supporting clothing lines that give back to the community like Tom’s shoes. They give a pair of shoes to an impoverished child if I buy a pair of shoes and, if you buy eye-wear, part of the profit is used to save or restore eyesight for people in developing companies. Kind of a spirit meets style arrangement.
On any given day I might be wearing my “Om main padme hum” bracelet I bought in a monastery in the mountains of Tibet, or Inca necklace a shaman blessed while in Peru, or my Ganesha tee shirt I wore through India. And most days I wear a cross of some kind.
Your personal appearance doesn’t necessarily have to conform to any particular ideas about beauty or fashion. But it is still something to which you should pay attention, and allow how you look to be a reflection of how you feel and what you hold sacred.